You have invested your time, energy, and dollars into effectively recruiting, hiring, and training the best employees available. So now you’re golden, right? Not so fast — now actually isn’t the time to sit back and relax. Now is the time to switch your focus to effectively managing, nurturing and developing that top talent so that your employees stick with you and continue to perform at the level you hired them.
Here are five tips you can use to effectively manage your rising stars:
1. Keep them Engaged
As a manager, I have read results of numerous employee feedback surveys. I have seen for myself that only five to eight percent of employees consider themselves actively engaged at work. High-potential employees can easily become unengaged and lose their passion if they aren’t kept involved in high-priority activities. Your top talent likely already knows that they are top talent. They know their potential. As their manager, it is your job to constantly work to keep these employees involved in important aspects of your business. Ask for their advice. Get them involved in problem solving. Ask their feedback. Find out if they feel as though they are making progress.
2. Let them Nearly Fail
I once had a team member who was nearly invaluable to me. He was my top talent, and he was interested in leadership. I knew he wasn’t quite ready from a delegation standpoint, so I thought I was protecting him by holding him back. I didn’t want him to fail and become discouraged. However, in the long run, he quickly became frustrated and ended up leaving the company. I learned that you must let employees take risks, even when there is a chance of failure. Sometimes, even your top talent needs these types of challenges to develop and grow their own skills. Never hold anyone back. Let them nearly fail, and then step in to help when they need it.
3. Develop a Career Path
While I’m sure you’d love to keep your top talent right there on your team with you, that may not be what they want for their career. One of the most important things you can do with your team is to identify long term and short term goals and come up with a plan to achieve them. If they need training, advocate for them and get it into your budget. If they need to build a certain skill, find creative ways to develop that skill in your daily operations. For example, can he or she lead the next group meeting or give a presentation? Can he or she tag along to an important meeting with upper management to gain exposure? Your employees will appreciate your dedication and personal interest in their careers, and they will be more engaged on your team.
4. Give and Seek Feedback
Feedback should be an almost daily occurrence when managing your entire team, top talent included. Every employee deserves and needs to know how they are doing. Feedback can be a quick email or a simple thank you. Feedback can include constructive criticism. It doesn’t have to take much time or energy, but it should be:
1) Timely – You should provide feedback as quickly as possible. If someone does a good job, let them know immediately. If they could improve on a few things, fill them in right away. Timely feedback is essential.
2) Specific – While a “good job” can make people feel appreciated, it is much more beneficial from a developmental perspective if you let them know exactly what they did well or specifically what they could do better in the future.
3) Consistent and ongoing – Your employees need to learn to expect feedback from you. Whether they are doing well or need improvement, it should never come as a surprise to them because you should be letting them know consistently and in an on-going fashion.
You should also seek feedback from your employees, especially your top talent. Let them tell you what is working for them and what isn’t. Ask them to suggest solutions to improve the department and then be open to their ideas. You can even assign a project right back to them in order to implement their plans. By doing so, you will build their confidence in themselves and in you as their leader.
5. Let Them Go
When opportunities come up for your top employees, you must let go. Holding your employees back is a mistake that can end up costing your company top talent. As much as you’d love to keep your top performers on your team, they will begin to resent you and may potentially become disengaged or leave the company if they feel as though they have become landlocked. Letting go is an important part of being an effective manager. You can come up with a succession plan to help ease the transition.
By following these five simple tips, you will keep your top talent performing at high levels and positively affecting your company’s bottom line. They will remain engaged and have a high level of job satisfaction.
Melissa is a success coach to high-achieving women. She helps women crush through their personal and career goals through a step-by-step formula for success. Check out her blog at www.engineeredmotherhood.com.
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